What a fashion line made from food will teach you about waste

Posted by dorisfhesse on November 9th, 2017

What a fashion line made from food will teach you about waste

Jacinda Martinez makes clothes that aren’t built to last. In the spring of 2009, she swapped out stilettos and sewing shears for garden boots and loppers. Martinez, now a gardener by day, haute couture designer by night, crafts intricate dresses out of what she grows in her garden, to try to send a message about the fleeting nature of food and fashion.

She knots and weaves vines together to make a top, drapes wilted lettuce and radicchio at the waist to form a skirt, finds vibrant color in broccoli, garlic, cabbage. All of her creations eventually return to the earth. The only evidence that remains is a fine art photograph that is sold or displayed in art shows.

The idea for her fashion line, “Fashion in the Raw,” was first seeded while apprenticing under a Lise Bech, a Danish basket weaver. As she worked on the farm during the day and sat for hours each night, weaving intricate baskets out of willows collected from the farm, Martinez saw the complete life cycle of each item she made.

“You just harvest it, process it, and make it. And then there’s no chemicals involved, so once it is over it will go back to the earth,” she said. That led to Martinez’s current work. Rooted in the tradition of textiles where people were more connected to the garment from harvest to attire, she constructs high-fashion dresses entirely out of vegetable matter.

It started as an exploration in building by hand, though, later evolved into a commentary on the fresh today, expired tomorrow mindset. She hopes her work sends a message about the ephemerality of fashion and how, like vegetables, designs are seasonal and not meant to last. For the apparel industry, that means selling more clothes. For the planet, Martinez’s concern is that that means waste and unsustainability.

Art curator Anna Abaldo, who showed Martinez’s work at the Maine Farmland Trust Gallery in 2016, sees the connection to the trend of “fast fashion.”

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